Halloween – Sugar – Teeth!

Multinational children in Halloween costumes sitting together on the grass with pumpkin and look happily

With Halloween upon us again at TCH we wanted to take the time out with Dr Christopher Ho and Dr Peter Alldritt, to remind you of the impact of TO MUCH SUGAR!

I will be honest we do not celebrate Halloween like most of our neighbours and friends do (it is a personal choice for many reasons). BUT the rising popularity of Halloween in Australia makes it a now highly anticipated celebration  for many children – some parents will be haunted by the harmful side effects that all of those extra sweets, lollies and chocolates are having on their kids’ teeth.

I was totally blind sided by how may Australians actually celebrate the holiday, and a new study conducted by Oral-Bi and the Australian Dental Association (ADA), the Oral-B ADA Halloween Study, has found that a majority (83%) of adults say children celebrate Halloween much more now compared to when they were a child, and two thirds (66%) say that their children increase their consumption of lollies and sugary treats at Halloween. But despite the havoc this might play on the teeth of our little ones, 60% of Aussie parents say they don’t alter their children’s brushing habits that night.

‘Trick-or-treating’ and eating sugary foods rank as the two most popular aspects of Halloween – with a quarter of parents saying that their children are consuming more and more sugary treats at Halloween every year, yet in most households, children are never or rarely flossing – potentially contributing to future cavities as the sweets are likely to get stuck in between teeth and sit there, continuing the party overnight.

Australian Dentist and Oral-B spokesperson Dr Christopher Ho is on a mission to ensure Australian parents are safeguarding their kids’ dental health during Halloween. He says: “Nearly half (47%) of parents claim their children intermittently graze on sugary treats on Halloween and over subsequent days, yet this grazing in fact generates frequent acid attacks which can have a negative effect on teeth. If you can, keep sticky sweets that cling to teeth to a minimum, and limit consumption to few sittings rather than constant grazing. Your child’s mouth needs time for the saliva to negate the effects of sugary foods and help plaque prevention”.

“I recommend using Oral-B Stages power brushes as not only do they remove more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush for a thorough clean, the fun animations on the brushes make for a better experience, encouraging kids to enjoy brushing time. Unfortunately, the new research revealed that 61% of kids aren’t using power toothbrushes, despite their proven benefits” Dr Ho continues.

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Dr Peter Alldritt, Chairman of the Australian Dental Association (ADA) Oral Health Committee says: “The results of the study show that while parents need to ensure their kids are maintaining positive dental habits throughout the year, such as brushing twice a day and flossing before bed to help protect against future cavities – this message is ever more pertinent when it comes to festive events like Halloween where sugar consumption can be very high.”

“When children come trick-or-treating at the door this Halloween, why not surprise them with an inexpensive toy or novelty. It will teach children that sugar is not the only reward and might just save their teeth from one more acid attack” advises Dr Alldritt.

The Oral-B Stages range of power and manual brushes are specially designed to encourage kids of ages, from 4 months to 8+ years to take better care of their teeth. Parents can find more information by visiting the Oral-B website here.

 

Now I know I am not the only one that has trouble with their children wanting to brush their teeth! And when discussing  with Dr. Ho shared his tips for making brushing fun so your child can get used to keeping their teeth clean.

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Join in

Children love to copy their parents, so it’s a great idea to make brushing a group activity, by encouraging your child to copy you as you brush, along with siblings. Brushing will always seem more fun to a child if it becomes a special activity or game that they get to do with their family. If you’re using a power brush yourself then your child is much more likely to want to try out power brushing for themselves when they are old enough and start off on the right foot when it comes to looking after their teeth.

Use the right tools

To help make the brushing routine more entertaining, I recommend parents look for toothbrushes that are fun and appealing to their child. The Oral-B Stages range, for example, has a great choice of characters to choose from in both manual and power toothbrushes. I encourage parents to invest in power brushes as I find children often struggle with the necessary patience to brush for the full dentist-recommended two minutes and find it tricky to brush the hard to reach places. This is where power brushes are a great help as they do a lot of the hard work for you, and many link to a timer so you can be sure that your child has cleaned their teeth for the correct time.

Turn it into a game

To ensure brushing for the dentist-recommended two minutes, download the Disney Magic Timer app. When you scan any of the Oral-B products from the Stages range with a smart device, it activates a brushing timer which sees an animated toothbrush slowly reveal a Disney image after two minutes. The app contains a variety of images to keep kids guessing which character will appear at the end of their brushing session.

Reward good habits

Rewarding your child with a star every time they brush their teeth for the full two minutes is a great way to incentivise good habits. Treat them to a trip to the park or a simple gift like a story book if they achieve 14 stars by the end of the week. Not only does this give your child an incentive for adopting good oral health habits, it’s also a simple way of reminding them that they need to brush twice daily.

 

At the end of the day Halloween is a holiday : One that most will celebrate and within good reason too. But please keep in mind the sugar overload (trust me Im not being over dramatic here) As a mum of 6 gorgeous kids I just want to help bring the awareness that their teeth are IMPORTANT!

 

 

Twitter: @OralBAU, @Aus_Dental

Facebook: Oral-B Rob the Dentist, Australian Dental Association, Healthy Teeth Australia

 

 

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